Why Ukrainian corruption is not a reason to lift sanctions on Russia

Photo: telegraph.co.uk

Photo: telegraph.co.uk 

2016/07/06 • Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

The issue is not that Ukraine cannot deal with corruption. The issue is that it is the West that cannot deal with it. And that is much more dangerous because it can lead to the collapse of the European Union.

When I hear statements that the West “is tired of Ukraine” because of our failures in the fight against corruption and in reforming the country I am genuinely surprised.

Yes, I can fully appreciate the West’s fatigue with the  pace of reform in Ukraine. It is not even fatigue; it is concern about their loans. What I do not understand is when this “fatigue” is tied to a desire to lift sanctions on Russia.

However, let us remember the political alphabet. Sanctions on Russia were established not in exchange for our desire to defeat corruption and carry out reforms but because Russia had violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Any state can expect its territorial integrity to be respected. Even the most corrupt. Even the most under-reformed.

The only time that the international community can agree — and then only partially — to the violation of territorial integrity is when a state is carrying out genocide against its own people and when this is confirmed by decisions of international tribunals. This was the case in Kosovo. And even Kosovo’s independence from Serbia was not recognized by all.

Putin and Medvedev attacked Georgia after the great portion of what have been called Saakashvili’s reforms had already been completed. Corruption had been defeated and the laws had been changed. But the West “tired” of Georgia in the span of one day. Not even contingent sanctions were introduced against Russia. The same will happen with us.

If we vanquish corruption but fail to create a strong army nothing will help us. Ukraine will lie in its coffin clean and uncorrupted.

The statements made by several Western politicians about the need to lift sanctions on Russia is not evidence of our failures in the fight against corruption. It is evidence of the corruption of Western businessmen who are cooperating with Moscow and of the politicians who are lobbying for their interests.

And quite a few are able to receive advice and assistance from Moscow or Caracas directly. Proof of these “official” contacts by the leftists from the Greek Syriza, the Spanish Podemos or the right-wing populists of the Le Pen family have long been made public.

The issue is not that we cannot deal with corruption. The issue is that the West cannot deal with it. And that is much more dangerous because it can lead to the collapse of the European Union.

In the West not everyone discusses this out loud. And not everyone understands it. But those Ukrainian politicians who link the possible lifting of sanctions to “fatigue” and Ukraine’s fault are playing on the side of Putin and his agents in the European Union and they are becoming part of the Kremlin’s corrupted abscess on the body of Europe.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Espreso TV

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  • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

    Are you seriously suggesting that the West should continue to pour money, etc., into Ukraine while the money goes into the pockets of oligarchs or worse? Why do you think the West has refused to provide .ukraine with lethal weapons?? Simply because corrupt govt officials cannot be trusted and maybe you should be taking them to task not blaming the west for Ukraines inability to get its house in order.

    • Scradje

      Aside from the fact that your allegations are are a grotesque oversimplification, the time to start criticising Ukrainian corruption, which is a hangover from 300 years of RuSSian occupation, is when the enemy has been extirpated and no longer occupies sovreign Ukraine territory. No other issue has precedence.

      • Y K

        There’s no doubt that Ukraine has to tackle its corruption problem, which has long passed the stage of a mere nuisance and has deloped into a full-blown life-threatening desease, ASAP. Having said that, South Korea’s Rhee Syngman’s regime was incomparably more corrupt, not to mention its human rights abuses. And yet American and non-American soldiers actually fought and died for it. Can anybody claim in good faith nowadays that it wasn’t a noble cause?

        • Scradje

          The system in Ukraine derives from the Soviet model, which itself is little different from Tsarist times: put loyal aparachiks in influential posts, pay them poorly and leave it to them to organize a top-down system of ‘tributes’ being paid for non-existent services rendered. All of which is divvied up mafia style with the top people getting the highest cut. One small example of progress being made is the traffic police. A job here was so highly sought after that the successful applicant had to pay a substantial ‘tribute’ to the officer who recruited him/her. This was because traffic cops were little more than shakedown artists, stopping people almost at random and cooking up on the spot ‘fines’. That has now stopped, thanks to Eka Zguladze, who was responsible for rebuilding the traffic police and city police almost from scratch. Result is a new tranche of highly popular, photogenic, clean young and patriotic officers.
          But as you say, corruption is a poor excuse for innaction. Besides, to normal hard working Ukrainians, corruption simply does not exist, there is just the daily grind of trying to get by.

          • Y K

            The police reform does indeed look like a success. And yet Ukrainians themselves are extremely disillusioned about the lack of progress in most fields. This disillusionment is extremely dangerous, as it could easily transform itself into demoralization in the face of Russian agression.

          • Scradje

            Right YK. I have heard the same thing. Hopefully there will not be a re-run of before, with people being so fed up with Tymoshenko bickering with Yushchenko that they knowingly voted for the grotesquely corrupt putlerite, Yanukovich. Even though it was also well known that agents for putlerstan poisoned and disfigured Yushchenko.

          • Scradje

            Kremtroll vermin crawl back into your slime pit.

          • Dr. Heath

            An excellent summary of how the medievalist system in the USSR and some of its medievalist successor states attempt to function.

      • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

        Let me assure you it is a very painful statement for me to make. However it is now almost 3 years on and little progress has been made. Those responsible for the Maidan murders walk free, young western oriented and hopefully less corrupt professionals who could have helped the govt .. gone, and on and on. One step forward and 3 steps back. The enemy cannot be minimized but in Ukraine there is a huge, malignant enemy within and it’s time to stop making excuses.

        • Scradje

          Again, a gross exaggeration. May I refer you to the reply I gave to YK below, which explains in more detail why you are wrong?

        • Quartermaster

          The only way progress will be made is keeping the pressure on. It is difficult, but the existential threat is from Russia, and efforts must be bent in that direction. Corruption is a far smaller danger than that from Russia.
          The reason lethal aid has not been forthcoming is the west is run by cowards and idiots.

  • zorbatheturk

    Impeach Putin.